The week in review

We are getting more use out of our new deck. Often Mike takes work calls from out there. Sometimes the boys sit out there to read. And Mike and I spend many nights chatting once the boys are down for bed. (Yes, the healing in our family has been SO great that I can be outside now while they fall asleep – so thankful!) One evening this week I let the boys stay up late to watch for bats – they were thrilled, but it did take a long time before they showed up. Thankfully we had a good audiobook going while we waited. =)

We also started going to the Reservoir by our house for some stand up paddle boarding. We went one evening when it was a little choppy and then we went on a weekend morning before it got too busy and the water was very calm. We are hoping this becomes a regular part of our weekly routines, just like our Saturday morning sprint workouts have become.

Our first night out:

Morning 2:

Other happenings include a lot of piano playing and walks. The family shot is a picture Ethan took with his tripod and timer a few weeks ago – he emailed it to me this week. And the boys do not like Mike’s reading/computer glasses, but I think they’re cute. And I especially love when both of those guys wear them at the same time!

Happy 11th Birthday!

This is almost impossible for me to believe – Ethan turned 11 at the start of this month!  We teased him a lot about turning 10 instead, since 11 just feels too old.  Micah even went so far as to write “Happy 10th Birthday” all over his gifts for Ethan.

I always try to sneak in a final picture with my boys before they turn the next year older, so this is my final picture with my 10 year old.

IMG_3823 2

One of our family birthday traditions is to let the birthday person choose all of the meals for the day. Ethan chose pancakes and bacon for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, and Greek turkey burgers, homemade applesauce and sweet potato fries for dinner. He also had a delicious ice cream cake.

We also try to do something special with our birthday guy. This year had a lot of limitations, obviously, but it didn’t really phase him.  In typical Ethan-fashion, he wrote out a list of things he wanted to do for the day. He was happy to play frisbee golf in the park with the family, put together an 11-themed work out, and go for a nature walk to take pictures together at night (we had given him the tripod – the one thing he requested multiple times throughout the year – as our big gift to him).

He received lots of cards, emails, FaceTime chats, gifts, and videos (see the videos below from some of his cousins) throughout the week. Thanks for making him feel so special!

This guy is something special.  He is kind and smart.  He is disciplined and motivated. And he loves the Lord and people. We are super proud of this 5’0″ young man. He’s a treat to parent and always has been!

IMG_3854 2

Updates from May

Ethan had his first virtual piano recital.  We were asked to make videos and post them on our YouTube channel and then E’s piano teacher put together a playlist of everyone’s pieces, along with a scavenger hunt and chance to vote for the pieces we liked best in each category.  Here are the links for E’s pieces:

I wanted to post a video from my nephews – they were dancing all around while listening to Ethan play piano.  It was darling.  I can’t figure out how to post it, so ask Lauren if you want to see. =D

We’ve also done a lot of playing piano through the Piano Maestro app as a family.  We are competing against one another – the boys are in the lead by a whole lot so far!  It’s been lots of fun to challenge ourselves in this way and fun for the boys to have such a big lead.

We’ve gone for lots of walks, both as a family, individually and in pairs.  I don’t think I’ve missed a day since early May (whenever my hives finally left for good) and Mike walked for over 10 miles one day. The boys go for walks to take pictures of flowers and birds. E and I even went for a walk in the rain one evening.

We’ve also started doing some track workouts as a family.  Our first work out at the track was a sprint work out – 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 2 minutes of rest for 6 rounds. We are trying to do this every week (2 down so far!). On Memorial Day we did a modified Murph work out.  Micah started out running one lap and then doing hand stands and squats and then ran another lap (and then he did 2 more for fun!) to finish his workout.  Meanwhile, Ethan and I both ran 3 laps and then did 70 push ups and 100 squats before running another 3 laps.  Daddio did the same, except with 4 laps and maybe 100 push ups (I can’t remember for sure).  It’s a fun new challenge for us and something we can do all together.  We hadn’t hit a track since back in our Georgia days!

Another thing we do to keep busy is play frisbee golf in the park by our house.  We do this a couple times every week.

Mallory, our mallard, keeps us busy, too.  She visits every day and is fed by Micah at least twice each day.  She likes to fly up to our roof to say hello and also peeks in at us in the playroom, too.  She even flew around the house and watched me do laundry one week. And we found her in the park during one of our frisbee golf rounds – she didn’t shy away from Micah, so we knew it was her.

Lots of outside time (I’ll update another day regarding the backyard project when I have more “after” pictures to post) is happening around here.  Ethan is our outdoor maintenance guy; he even changes the wire on the weed eater on his own now.

We’ve got a couple new games for this season of life, too:

We also finished up the school year in early May.  Micah will continue working on reading and math this summer and Ethan will continue to read each day and do some other school-related things throughout the summer. We celebrated with French Toast on their final day and took some end of the year pictures, too.

Both boys had paying jobs for part of May, too.  Ethan typed up documents for Reggie for a class he will be teaching later this year.  He was very responsible and motivated.  He completed the tasks a day early and Reggie said he handled everything very maturely.  Micah had a scanning job for Mikey – scanning documents.  He did a great job, too!

We celebrated Mother’s Day in May, too.  My guys spoiled me with lots of loving notes and doing all of my favorite things – we went for a long, frisbee-free walk, we played Kubb in the park, and we ate good food.  Mikey made Dutch Babies for breakfast and ordered sushi for dinner.

Final pictures worth mentioning…the boys and I got our homemade masks from my Mom (THANKS, Mom!!).  Mike has been reading us all a book at night and sometimes Micah uses his book light to see in order to do paint by sticker or to draw.  I picked some weeds from our backyard to decorate the house because they are pretty weeds!  My aunties threw a fabulous virtual wedding shower for my cousin.  And Mel and Joel stopped by with Pentecost decorations (they were way prettier before the rain got to them) and treats since we couldn’t attend the annual Pentecost party at their home. =D

Next up…a boy we all love turns 11!

Easter 2020

We certainly won’t soon forget Easter 2020.  We enjoyed a church service at home (decorated by Micah, complete with a LEGO band), participated in the Lord’s Supper (complete with Aunt Mel’s homemade sourdough) with Reggie via FaceTime, had a tasty breakfast and lunch, watched Andrea Bocelli’s live concert (with no audience), had lots of competitive egg hunts and spent a lot of time together.

The following day was our final CC day.  It’s been an interesting first year as the Director, but our community is such a strong, close-knit group that it was lots of fun for me, despite all of the challenges.  I was spoiled with all kinds of lovely thank you gifts and notes of appreciation.  It was a very humbling experience for me.

I thought I’d include pictures of them looking over their yearbooks and participating in our zoom class.  I’m also including their final presentations – really short, silly ones to conclude an awesome year!

Florida

Mike needed to spend a week in India, so we scheduled his trip to coincide with our Spring Break from CC so that the boys and I could fly to Florida.  Obviously, much changed since the day we made our plans.  Mike flew to London (without any wi-fi on his flight) and found out when he arrived that India had closed its borders and he would need to fly back to Denver.  Meanwhile, the boys and I had already landed in Florida to spend time with my parents.

Our week there started much like we had hoped, with various plans in place, but we slowly took more activities off our agenda when it became apparent that we needed to practice social distancing.

We had a wonderful time there.  It had been years since our last trip to Florida and we hadn’t seen their condo, yet.  Micah was struck by how much Florida was like a jungle/rain forest.  Ethan was enamored with the opportunities to take lots of pictures with his Grandpa.

Some condo highlights included lots of time reading, scootering, and playing in the pool, as well as piano-playing, game-playing (milestone alert – Ethan and I played our first games of scrabble), worksheet-making, and picture-editing.

Some outside of the condo highlights included the rodeo, the beach, a boys’ only kayak trip, my Dad’s band concert, and lots of walks to see wildlife.  The boys took a bunch of great pictures, which we will hopefully eventually do a post about on here.  My dad taught them how to edit them, which was a fun new skill for them.

Obviously, time with our family (and the fun overlap with Mr. Rick!) are the things we cherished the most.  Thanks for hosting us so graciously during a strange and uncertain time!!

Early March

Well, I borrowed Mike’s noise-cancelling headphones and my life was changed.  Mike snapped this picture of me, drinking tea, reading a book on being an introverted mom while blocking out all extra noise. =D

IMG_3472

Mikey has had a pretty significant travel schedule.  The boys are always ecstatic when he gets home and have loads of stories to tell him.  Most evenings end on the nook with books, talking, or looking things up together.  He always makes us smile.

We’ve had gorgeous weather here and have started doing some of our schooling outside. It breathes new life into our days!  The boys also do quite a bit of schooling at my PT office while I try to figure out the connection between my weak abs and my knee pain.

The boys and I went on a long bike ride – our first for the season.  We met our new friends in the state park by our house and rode all the way around the reservoir.  Sadly, both my bike and Ethan’s had flat tires when we were about 2 miles from home.  Thankfully, a kind gentleman came to our aid so that we didn’t have to walk the whole way home!  Don’t worry, I now purchased a tire pump to take with us on our adventures.

Next up: Florida!

Home again, Home again!

We flew back home on New Year’s Eve.

We had some friends stay in our home while we were gone and were blessed with sweet notes and lots of treats.  Micah stayed up with Mike and I to ring in the New Year.  Ethan stayed up for a while, but was ready to turn in by 10:30 (he was still living on WI time, so he almost made it!).

Getting back home meant getting back into our rhythms.  We started praying for specific people at dinner and then talking about a question (both the name of a person and a question to ask is on these popsicle sticks).  Ethan got back to his piano as soon as he woke up.  We took down Christmas decorations, started reading some books together, played our new game, and spent some time outside.

We also got back into the swing of things for school and CC.

Mike and his co-worker/buddy took the boys to Casa Bonita for their first time.  The food was not impressive, as you might guess, but they had a good time watching the entertainment.

And we’ve had two Packer picnics.  One ended with a victory; the other with defeat.  The boys watched both games all the way through, which is something new for them. What a fun season!

Christmas in Michigan

We flew to Wisconsin, rather than driving, this year.  The boys and I weren’t thrilled about it, as we cherish road trips, audiobooks, and we especially love getting to stop in to see Grandpa Russ on our way home.  On the day of our flight, my mom asked if we had left for the airport yet and this was my response from our uber:

Micah was my seat partner on the plane.  We spent some time listening to our separate audiobooks, but mostly talked and looked out the window.

We landed just in time to get to see Ivan’s Christmas program!  SO thankful we were there in time.  It was precious!

IMG_9353

The following day (well, it ended up being night due to drama with our rental car), we drove to Michigan to spend the weekend with our extended family.

Michigan was filled with enjoying time with our family at the retreat cabins.  It’s such a fun spot and allows for games, sports, hikes, good conversations and lots of yummy food.  I count on my Dad to capture our time together, so I didn’t take a lot of pictures.  But here’s what I took:

That picture of a bunch of people was from a hike I went on and we were laughing so hard about the “views”.  Let’s just say this hike was done for the company, not the views.  More pictures to come from my Dad’s camera.  Those will be much better. =D

Advent Activities

We enjoyed another fun and reflective Advent season.  This year we read “Ishtar’s Odyssey” which is a fictionalized story of what the magi may have experienced on their quest to find the newborn king.

Some of our favorite activities/activities that I took pictures of included:

  • Drinking hot cocoa while reading the Christmas story from the Bible
  • Family sleepover and Christmas movie
  • Christmas art class
  • Christmas lights drive
  • Picnic by the tree
  • Red and green meal
  • Darkest night meal by candlelight
  • White winter breakfast
  • Put up snowflakes
  • Sing in nursing home
  • Ice cream sundaes on Sunday
  • Decorate Christmas cookies
  • Shepherds Meal